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Don’t get excited about the antibody test being available for everyone too soon – it doesn’t fit with the Government’s fag-packet plan

March 26, 2020 Leave a comment

It is inevitable – even whilst we are still going through the period of good will in response to the Government Shutdown – that rumours and stories about this or that which is going to make things ‘normal’ again is about to arrive and go off like a bomb.

Sadly, we are likely to go through this process many times, especially with media of variable quality and provenance coming at us each and every way.

The great hurdle-race of teases began yesterday with stories that a Coronavirus antibody test is being mass produced and would go on sale and be distributed by Amazon and Boots next week.

‘Game changer’ was a headline on papers and many Tweets alike, and it was very clear in the minds of isolation-weary people that less than 48 hours after the Prime Minister announced the shutdown, this could all be only days from its end.

Within what seemed like no time at all, the whole idea was shut down during the afternoon Downing Street press conference. It was made clear that the test wasn’t ready and wouldn’t be available to the general public in the first instance, even if it was.

The response to this brief period of untamed excitement and hysteria, from the Government and it’s advisers certainly raises questions about how long they really think this shutdown will be sustainable.

How exactly would the Government propose to manage a situation where let’s say half of the population has not had COVID-19 and is confined to their homes, and the other half has not?

Is the Coronavirus Crisis going to be over when everyone has lived through catching COVID-19 – whether they had symptoms or not? Will it be over when everyone is either immune via exposure or vaccinated with a vaccine yet to be discovered, tested and made. Or will the Crisis be over when the NHS can cope with the treating the critical proportion of everyone who has not been exposed – all at once?

What might be worth consideration is that the information concerning who has immunity and who hasn’t is going to be the most dangerous fuel that could be added to the fire that the Government choosing these measures and in particular this form of shutdown is destined to create.

Yes, we need health professionals tested and cleared as quickly as possible and as often as necessary so that they can either continue or return to their work.

But if everyone has access to this information at once and too quickly, there is a real danger that it will create a massive societal divide. A definable difference where the way this Crisis has been mismanaged could see those who can demonstrate they have immunity demanding a return to normality, whilst those who haven’t will experience nothing better than home imprisonment with the accompanying social blight.

How does the Government restore balance within the UK Community and its People then? A National Coronavirus Party like pox parties for kids? Throwing everyone into a room together and infecting them deliberately like the way they dealt with Smallpox here in the Eighteenth Century?

It would be ridiculous to think that life can resume for those who have had Coronavirus, whilst the shutdown continues for those who have not.

And herein lies the problem. Because the Government’s plan to manage this now has an indefinite timeline – if it is to succeed and get through to the stage where normal life can resume across the board – without civil unrest or even worse at first being involved.

The big problem with the approach the Government is taking – which sounds like an effective way to manage the spread and impact of the virus – is that at the same time it is creating an untold number of other problems.

None of the measures the Government is taking go far enough. They don’t consider or take care of the real impact of the physical shutdown for the wider population which by its nature demands that life should also be put on hold for them financially without cost thereafter, for the whole period of time that this specific plan the Government has enacted demands that people have no life outside and remain at home.

Sooner, rather than later, the inadequacies of the Government Strategy are going to be shown as it unravels. The pain for so many people that it will cause will be made all the worse because it was something that the Government chose not to avoid.

The reality is that no matter how much pain and personal tragedy we see paraded on the TV in front of us each and every day, the fallout from the poor decisions and inadequate action on the part of our Politicians right now is going to be far worse in the impact it will have through debt, the loss of income, the permanent closure of businesses and shops, bankruptcies, mental health issues and yes, the loss of lives through suicide and other forms of early death. The impact won’t only be visible just now in the days, weeks and months the shutdown might take. It will hide itself like every other injustice without a name, continuing to reap a terrible, unseen, but unnecessary harvest thereafter and for a very long time.

Whilst the academics, commentators and opinionati are busy dismissing the suggestion that such outcomes are possible because there’s no credible evidence in their view to suggest it could be right, the fact is that people in this Country are and have already been suffering for a very long time because we have had and still have the wrong politicians who have a completely shutdown, blinkered and self-serving idea of what is right.

 

 

The Government is forcing us to fear life as if it were the same thing as death

March 21, 2020 1 comment

img_5361Friday was a very dark day for this Country.

Journalists, activists and supporters cheered on Boris Johnson as he effectively closed down life for any other purpose than to facilitate work that cannot be carried out from home, or for making what has become a futile attempt in recent days for many of us as we attempt to service basic human needs.

Meanwhile, the Chancellor succeeded in convincing the party faithful that a half-hearted attempt at addressing the financial problems people now face would be beneficial to everyone. In fact it prioritises only the needs of some without coming anywhere close to answering the real questions for them or anyone else.

Many others were simply bypassed by the big words of this written-on-a- fag-packet strategy altogether, when what could and more importantly should have been a working plan to treat everyone the same and as an equitable cause was simply not considered at all.

What many of us are missing as we watch the endless streams of news and what has quickly become the media-driven 24hr Coronavirus Show, is that these Politicians are not in charge of what they are doing, nor are they successfully meeting their real obligations to the people who elected them and put them in office in any thought-through way.

Whilst they would like us to believe otherwise, the Politicians making the decisions today are human beings who like most people outside of Westminster are actually very afraid.

The problem with this form of leadership is that fear is no leader when what is called for to genuinely help others is the ability for them to be strong.

Our leaders are not leading. They are being led by fear themselves, and that fear is leading them to make decisions that have already or soon will become an overkill that really hurts a lot more people across this Country than it could ever really help.

The Government and the people advising them are more afraid of getting a few very specific things with healthcare wrong, when they should be more a lot more afraid of not getting everything else about this Crisis right.

There are some cold and harsh realities that we all must face about the Coronavirus itself and what the reaction of the Politicians, the State and the so-called specialists working alongside them is going to do.

None of them are particularly nice.

Key in peoples minds will be the tragedy unfolding in a very personal way for the people who have and will continue to die. It’s horrible, but the media focusing on individual cases non-stop as they are doing is making the whole experience for everyone else necessarily much worse.

Next will be the toll that dealing non-stop with Coronavirus in our hospitals will be and what the exposure to that will mean for the longer term mental health of those who were already working on or have volunteered to join the front line. This is the job that they have trained and committed to doing and keeping this in the forefront of wider perspective is what will keep the wheels turning.

However, the one reality that we should all wake up to, be most concerned with and understand today is the one that nobody is talking about. The one that unlike Coronavirus does not have the capacity to go away. The one where the Government is prioritising the fight to prevent the most vulnerable in society from possibly dying prematurely at what is the disproportionate cost of denying everyone else the ability to have and maintain any kind of normal life.

Yes, we are hearing horror stories from Italy and from other places around the World about infection rates and the related number of deaths.

But we have no guarantee that the potential for any of that to happen here will be mitigated by shutting down the country just to facilitate what could be a delay.

What none of the medical people, specialists and experts can tell or rather guarantee any of us, is how long Coronoavirus will be here and how long social distancing will remain their only solution in what will surely be an ongoing and what will soon feel like a permanent process of temporary delay after temporary delay.

Indeed, on the basis of what they are telling us, the duration of this social lockdown will actually need to go on for as long as it will take to exhaust the spread of the virus throughout the entire population, or alternatively to create a vaccine, test it, produce it and then vaccinate everyone, or which ever will be possible to achieve first place without any further or unseen delay.

None of this advice being given is based upon real numerical facts. Even if it was, that advice would or is subjective, is based only on the management of critical health care and does not take into consideration any of the wide-ranging impacts, consequences and knock-on effects for people, businesses and society as a whole that an unmitigated focus on being able to provide ventilators at the time that everyone might need them has already began to cause.

We already know that our leaders are thinking the time their policy of social distancing will take to keep the need on any day for these resources, managed by the pathway of time, is likely to run into many months. As such, it could easily become a period of years.

Meanwhile, the Country is set to fall apart on nothing more the basis that because Coronavirus is new and has a name, it is somehow more important and therefore must be treated differently than the significant number of deaths we have in this country each and every day or every winter when the figures for deaths from existing conditions such as seasonal flu alone are typically already much worse.

The reality that we all must face once we have been conditioned to it and matured is that this life ends for every one of us in some way, some day.

This whole crisis and the decisions that Politicians, Advisors and government officers are taking right now are already affecting and are about to take over our lives both today and for the future.

They will do so based only on the premise that we should listen to somebody with a title without question, whilst they are themselves motivated by fear of something even they don’t fully understand, and are taking little more than a guess about how only the things they are responsible for in isolation might turn out.

What is more, the number of people that this unproven and best process of guesswork might save from an early death is likely to turn out significantly smaller than all the hype being peddled by our irresponsible media would suggest.

The consequences of shutting down this Country, the economy and all of our lives simply as a strategy so the NHS can cope will inadvertently kill, destroy lives and create a level of hardship for a number of people that will go way beyond – if not actually totally eclipse the number that this fear-driven escapade on the part of people driven by their fragile egos will ever save.

Yet the deaths, the suicides, the life-long mental health issues, poverty, hardship, the destruction of relationships, safeguarding issues and many other forms of malaise and negative knock on effects for individuals and families that the choices the Johnson Government is going to create by shutting down businesses, our lives, our incomes and our ability to pay the debts that they have done nothing to keep at bay, will never get mentioned or championed by these same Politicians in any way.

Yes, Coronavirus kills. But death is an inevitable end to this life and other diseases, conditions and factors will always kill more.

The fear of our Politicians and the stupidy and self-serving nature of the media that leads them has turned a drama into a crisis, simply because they have been able to give the fear that they thrive on a name and through their words and actions have given it the power of being like a flip side celebrity cause.

The misery that their ineptitude, ignorance and incompetence will cause to many more than will ever die from Coronavirus is an uncomfortable subject that the establishment will wilfully fail to recognise when any individual brings a story of real life misery to their door that might uncover the horrid truth about how those in power operate whilst exposing their many flaws.

The real fear for us should not be Coronavirus.

Our real fear should be our politicians and the people advising them because they are out of their depth.

Through the actions of shutting down our lives and making us dependent upon everything they say and do, we are together and collectively being coerced into behaving and therefore believing that it has become normal to fear living in the same way that we are conditioned to fear death.

Leaders who are afraid of their own shadow will not easily relinquish the control which their fears have motivated them to take at a time when they were trusted because they believe they will continue to keep them safe.

In the weeks to come and as the inequity and self-serving nature of their thinking becomes more apparent and as it becomes clear how their inept plans are going to turn out for everyone, people are going to realise just how over the top the dysfunction of this wholly avoidable shutdown of our lives really is.

As things like the parts run out to keep the lorries and ambulances running that they are telling us will keep us all safe whilst everyone is shut down, and the flawed concept of social distancing remains the only political parable that exists, people are going to realise just how draconian and out of touch with the hard-hitting realities of the wider and wholly avoidable Crisis they are creating alongside Coronavirus that our current Government and the thinking of the MPs around them really is.

None of us really wants anyone else to suffer.

We certainly don’t want anyone to prematurely lose their life.

But the reality is that we are all being forced to sacrifice our lives and peace of mind for little more than a cause that has value because it has been a name and therefore a face.

The response of the Government and the specialists to Coronavirus is going to damage and destroy much more for us, our Country and our future indirectly than it is ever directly going to save.

Neither the Public or Business can service debt without income. The Chancellor’s Coronavirus ‘help’ is yo-yo politics that flashes in the face but simply doesn’t go that far

March 18, 2020 Leave a comment

img_5330The ineptitude of our politicians is stunning.

The problem that millions of people and businesses right across our country are facing is that their income has already stopped, soon will do, or at best is going to be severely reduced.

So what does the Chancellor do?

He sets them up with a loan.

And that’s for the specific people he has actually identified – certainly a long way from being them all.

We don’t know how long the Coronavirus Crisis will take to complete its course. We don’t know when ‘business as usual’ for any industry or occupation will be able to resume. We certainly don’t know if trading levels for any company will then have even the remotest possibility of returning overnight.

So when faced with losing either your wage or your business losing at least some, if not all of its trade, the last thing you need is a loan – even without interest – that is open ended in its value because you don’t know how long you will need it for; loans that will already be unaffordable to pretty much everyone because it’s not something that you have either made allowance in your monthly domestic outgoings or business income vs expenditure budgeting for.

img_5329For a Chancellor of the Exchequer – and a Conservative one at that – to not understand the implications of what would be no more than a cynical headline-grabbing plan in normal times would itself be very profound. For him to do it at a time of National Crisis, when people and business need genuine help to survive, whatever the duration, and then be able to return to their own normality at some point in the future whenever that might be is profoundly ridiculous at very best.

Whilst the Tory troops are lauding the whole effort and shouting plaudits suggesting that this is the best Chancellor we’ve ever seen, the reality is dawning on many people that the measures he has announced is little more than yo-yo politics, where what appears to be given to those in need at speed will just as quickly return to the hand of the giver on what is a deliberately transparent, yet firmly fixed string.

Regrettably, the approach that the Johnson government is employing in the handling of the Coronavirus crisis is akin to something that would fit right into the conspiracy theorists playbook.

Talk of confining the public to their homes for many months on end; the shutting down of public events, gatherings, and pubs and now a series of financial measures dressed in the rhetoric of being there to help and support us, whilst in its cold and hard reality does anything but.

At best, it all points to a disproportionate level of control being levied upon the public at large by an inept Government living in fear of its own responsibilities and driven by the interests of a very close cadre of financial and business interests that it feels unceasingly obliged to prioritise and serve.

God help us all in a few weeks if the Public become tired of what may well quickly prove be a misdirected overkill and people then take to the streets. Because all of this ineptitude on the part of a Government that thinks that with an 80 seat majority it can do no wrong, really will give currency to the words and actions of those who will prove themselves to be far more dangerous than fruitcakes and loons.

The Government has a level of power and the responsibility to use it at a time of National Crisis like this that it never has before.

We may not be at War. But the circumstances are potentially as severe nonetheless.

This means that the Government and in particular both the Chancellor and the Prime Minister have an incredible opportunity to step beyond the restrictions and shibboleths of so-called peacetime protocols and carry out the real functions of the Offices of State that they are there for.

But to do this they must lead and not be led.

No civil servant, no adviser, no specialist, no expert has the knowledge, training or experience to come up with the comprehensive solutions that will factor in everything that needs to be considered.

They certainly have no way to know if what they do suggest, advise or contribute will turn out being right.

That means listening to ALL of the advisors, specialists and representatives whilst keeping in mind that all of them will have their own bias and self interest in the solutions that they offer. But that even when the solution they offer might appear to work, it wont work for the many if it prioritises financial or other benefits to the few.

In the first instance, to be equitable and to be fair to EVERYONE and not just the usual suspects and same old few, our Leaders MUST instruct the Civil Service, Industry and the Financial Sector what the solution will be and not make it voluntary for them to support or options that they can choose on the basis of it being like advice.

Breaking completely new ground it might be, but if Boris wants to go down in history as the PM who saw this thing through the right way and got the job done, this talk of £300 Billion in the underwriting of loans and grants needs to be scrapped immediately and replaced with radical Standstill Legislation with key points like these addressed fully in clear and unhindered view:

What the Country needs:-

  • People and businesses don’t need debt relief or loans for the duration of the crisis. They need the payments to completely STOP.
  • We ALL need payments for non-essential services and items to STOP.
  • People who have been laid off need surety that their jobs will continue to exist.
  • Interest payments of any kind need to STOP.
  • People who are self-employed or working in the gig economy need the same basic income as everyone else affected too.
  • HMRC needs to go on holiday and open the VAT window for collections to at least 6 months from 3 or even more – WITHOUT levelling interest.
  • People who have been laid off or have had their wages reduced need the surety of a basic income just to pay for food.
  • We need the Government to step in takeover every service that was formally in public hands so that essential utilities and services can be provided to EVERYONE who cannot work, trade or keep going as normal for the duration of the crisis FOR FREE – Not paying the retail bill for every household and business, but by taking over and underwriting the whole supply chain so that there is no profit taking at any level remaining involved.

What we don’t need:-

  • A Government unable to look beyond the restrictions of what advisors advisors tell it is possible, what it has done, or what history tells us that it can do.
  • The same pockets being lined with profit now during this crisis as they are in normal times

Above all, the solution that will work now and for the future must be applied on a blanket basis.

By taking over and underwriting essential services and ensuring that EVERYONE has at least a basic income that will cover the cost of a weeks food, the Country and everyone not working within it will be in the best place during the crisis to financially survive and then thrive once this terrible chapter has ended and is over.

The benefit for those who continue working in roles like the emergency services and in our hospitals, the benefit in kind will be that they receive a payment holiday whilst they are working. That’s a sensible and fair bonus for doing their bit for community whilst we all do our bit for each other to ensure to survive.

 

images thanks to dreamstime.com

 

 

 

 

 

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